Two weekends ago the Family and I made the long drive down to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near San Diego, CA. It was the start of the normal wildflower season for the deserts of Southern California. An area that I always wanted to explore during the spring. Thanks to fate allowing me to nab the last spot on Ron Nieberger’s photo tour I was able to explore with a great group of fellow photographers and a wonderful guide.
Aside: For the adventurous, moments after Ron took that photo of me photographing off the edge of the world (previous link), a huge gust of wind came up and I hunkered down with one hand on the camera/tripod and the other clutching my graduated neutral density filter between two fingers…holding on to both for dear life! The joys of being out in the field photographing…
As are so many things with nature/landscape photography, there is no such thing as normal. With all the rains and cooler temps this year, wildflower season is delayed by two to three weeks. We were able to find small patches of flowers and a few cactus with buds that were either just opening or about to open. We were also able to find signs of wild mustard about to over run most fields. The concern of every photographer who frequented the area was that the large fields of desert wildflowers may be a thing of the past. Despite the record setting rainfall it looked like the mustard was about to bloom and take all the moisture and sun from the native wildflowers.
On the flip side, the rain allowed moisture to seep in deep enough into the soil to reach the deeper bulb of the Desert Lily. As Ron, our tour leader, mentioned “most years you were excited to spot one Desert Lily.” This year we found multiple fields of lilies, with the best one being a wash with the leaves of the lily popping out ever few feet.
Few lilies were in bloom yet, but when the majority start to bloom, these fields will be quite a sight to see and photograph. I’m trying to ensure that my schedule has a free spot within the next few weeks to try and head back down for a longer trip during peak time.